Kennedy’s Last Days Review
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Unabridged Audiobook: 4 CDs (4.5 hours)
Read by Edward Herrmann

Not long ago, the nation commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In Kennedy’s Last Days, an abbreviated edition of his historical best-seller, Killing Kennedy, Bill O’Reilly offers a shorter, more accessible look at the beloved president’s spectacular rise and tragic fall. And the audio version makes for an unexpectedly riveting listening experience.

Though its title suggests otherwise, Kennedy’s Last Days tackles more than just the days leading up to Kennedy’s death. Instead, it offers a brief overview of his background—touching on everything from his family history and his heroic acts during World War II to the most important moments of his short presidency. There are plenty of cultural and personal details, too, giving the account both context and personality.

At the same time, the book also offers a look into the life of the president’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, an unstable and dissatisfied former Marine whose search for notoriety led him to take a deadly interest in various authority figures—including the beloved young president.

In Kennedy’s Last Days, O’Reilly offers a “Just the facts, Ma’am” approach to Kennedy’s story. He doesn’t go into any of the numerous scandals surrounding Kennedy. You won’t find any dishy tales about Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, or the Mob here. And he barely acknowledges the numerous conspiracy theories surrounding Kennedy’s death. Instead, he makes the whole thing seem so ridiculously simple and straightforward. According to this book, Kennedy was a good man—and a shrewd leader. Oswald was a fame-hungry nut job. And the rest is history.

Of course, there’s so much more to this story—and so many more possibilities. And as you think through O’Reilly’s explanation, the doubts and questions will most likely start popping up in the back of your mind. The details just seem a little too convenient, the oversights a little too coincidental. And in listening to O’Reilly’s conspiracy-free theory, you might find yourself turning into a conspiracy theorist—or at least a skeptic.

Still, Kennedy’s Last Days is an emotional and engaging overview of the man and his tragic death—and Edward Herrmann’s informative and expressive narration makes it all the more engrossing. This special edition is geared toward younger audiences, and while some of the details are understandably graphic, it’s a worthwhile introduction to the story. In fact, from its emotional look at the civil rights movement to the suspenseful portrayal of the Cuban Missile Crisis to the powerful account of the moments before and after the shots were fired in Dallas, it could just turn curious teens into history buffs. So while it may seem like a strange choice for your next family road trip, this simple but captivating historical audiobook is worth adding to your listening library.

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